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The Amazing Adventures of a New Machiteynista

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Dan & Ris
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By Jeanette Friedman

NEW YORK — With three daughters and as a celebrations journalist who writes about how to make a wedding fantastic (always, I just realized, from the bride’s point of view), it’s a new experience to become the mom of the groom. Especially such a groom!

It began at my granddaughter’s bat mitzvah, when Dan, the Mobius man, social media guru of Jewish masses, brought his significant other, Morissa Golden, aka Ris, to meet the matriarchs. My mother is the Brooklyn Babi of distinguished rabbinic descent. Her sister-in-law and the rest of the family were all under one roof, very convenient. (That was a green idea. It saved lots of gas running around the various boroughs of New York and the West Bank of the Hudson.)

The next day, my youngest, my only boy, a grown man in everyone’s eyes but mine, let me know he was going to pop the question in two week’s time, and that I had better keep my mouth shut.  So I immediately called my oldest daughter who said, “Butt Out!”  so I did.

He then calls to tell me  it’s Ris’s birthday. I leave her a birthday message and she calls back. “What do you want for your birthday?” I asked.  “I’ll see if I can arrange it.”

“Your son,” she replied.  And I said, I would wrap that up for her.

I immediately emailed Dan and asked him to put on a huge gift bow with a birthday card from me and to hand himself over to Ris. He ignored me.

Came Thanksgiving…was I brining a turkey for the kids? Nope. I wasn’t. He was heading up to Syracuse to ask Ris’ parents for her hand in marriage. Cool beans! So off they went on a MegaBus and the wi-fi sucked. I couldn’t find out what was going on. Dan posted something about a surprise on facebook, and I waited for the call.

It came on Thanksgiving p.m. Mazel Tov! The wedding was scheduled for the Fourth of July in her parents’ backyard in Syracuse.  No problem. Not much. Do we drive, get a bus, catch a plane, take a train?  And should we charter something for the old ladies? Talked to Ris’s Mom and Dad. They worried about not being observant! Who cares? They must be nice people because Ris is a class-A1 mensch.

Twittered the news immediately, facebooked it at the exact moment Dan did, sent an email to all my colleagues, friends and family and made only four phone calls—to my mom, my mother-in-law and two old aunties who wouldn’t know a computer if they God forbid fell over one. My, how life has changed!

Suddenly, Dan’s cell phone seems to work! He takes my calls and answers emails. Wow! And he emails a photo of the Bling—an antique diamond set in platinum. When he wanted to spend more, Ris said save the money for a roof over their heads. Smart lady.

Monday, Ellen, Ris’ mom, thankfully decides 150 people schlepping to her backyard in Syracuse isn’t green. Do it in Brooklyn where the friends and family are. Botanical Garden, their first choice Dan says, costs thousands. Have I got any ideas…and oh, yeah, this is going to be a Halachically correct wedding, but, “We are going to blow away the minhagim, the customs, and do things our way.”

The matriarchs were going to have to watch the bride and groom circle each other instead of the bride walking around in circles by herself. It is said she thus builds the walls of their future home, but these two believe they are partners for life. No one gets to run rings around anyone else! And his Dad and I would share giving a blessing during the ceremony.  Yes!

With the Botanical Gardens so expensive, Prospect Park, right across the street is an option. The Parks Department  says weddings cost $25 and a $300 bond in case you wreck the grass. The two sites are the Grecian Pavillion and the Oriental Garden. (The Oriental Garden was where the denizens of Crown Heights would go to do Taschlich [the casting of the bread on the waters] on the second day of Rosh Hashanna. Many a match was made there!)

BUT—you can’t have a wedding on the Fourth of July because everyone and his brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and 3rd cousins twice removed will be bar-b-cueing  in the park, and  my oldest daughter, the specialty cake decorator and catering wannabe, says, “Whoa, everyone, Fourth of July is during the Three Weeks.”

Pick another date. Ok. June 27 it is.

She’s the practical daughter who has attended hundreds of weddings. She asks, “What about the heat in the summer when rivulets of sweat trickle down anatomical areas while you dance around? And what if it rains? I’ve been at weddings where I had to stand ankle deep in mud.”

“Hey,” I say, “Aren’t you the one who told me to butt out?!

She emails her brother. “Can’t do it on the Fourth. The Three Weeks. And it’s hot and where’s the dance floor?”

We are now looking at August.  I’ll keep you informed.

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Friedman is San Diego Jewish World’s bureau chief for the greater New York area.  We wish her, her son and daughter in law to be, and all else concerned a hearty mazal tov!


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